The Best Movie You’ll Play All Year

A couple of years before his death, Roger Ebert occasionally debated the artistic merits of video games and concluded that video games should not be classified as art. Gamers took to the message boards for spirited debate. I don't want to re-hash that argument here, but what is interesting to me are the ways in which video games are becoming better at what films should be doing, namely telling emotionally riveting, compelling stories. I would posit the latest Naughty Dog release, The Last of Us, … [Read more...]

Navigating Terror

I subsisted, largely, on handheld gaming during our travels last year. Thanks to the PS Vita, this wasn't too much of a hardship. I was, however, looking forward to catching up on some console games, specifically The Walking Dead video game episodes that had been collected onto one disc last month (they were previously available as downloads on PS3, XBox, and mobile devices). It's been touted as one of, if not the, best games of the year and rightly so, because it's one of the best games I've … [Read more...]

Looking Forward from E3

I fancy myself a bit of a gamer. Here on our world tour, I've allowed myself a PS Vita as my luxury item. It's helped feed the addiction in between sight-seeing and eating/drinking. I check the game sights every few days to keep up with the latest news, releases and reviews. But in my most significant Geek Out moment of the journey, I tuned into the live stream of Sony's and Nintendo's E3 press conference and watched replays of Microsoft's and a handful of game developers. Along with getting … [Read more...]

Is God a Gamer?

Theology and popular culture is an ever-growing field with numerous implications for both the church and academia.  Churches and professors have embraced the theological/religious/spiritual implications of film, television, and popular culture.  However, one of the most popular components of popular culture, video games, have yet to come under exploration for their theological/religious/spiritual implications.  Until now.  In his latest book, Halos and Avatars:  Playing Video Games With God, Crai … [Read more...]

Virtual Dystopia

One of the most interesting parts of Conrad Ostwalt's book, Secular Steeples, is his comparison of secular and sacred apocalyptic films.  One of the characteristics of secular apocalyptic films is that humans must and do overcome the apocalyptic threat before them through world unity, technological advancements, military might, etc.  Contrary to this, sacred apocalyptic films wait for God to act decisively while humans must endure the violence around them.  Lately, I have observed a string of vi … [Read more...]

Serious Handheld…

With the spring semester in full swing, my adventures in video gaming take a back seat, unfortunately, to much more, ahem, sophisticated endeavors. However, I still like to keep an eye on the screen to see what the latest news is from the consoles, aside from the countdown until the release of Grand Theft Auto IV. I found this interesting article about an independent Nintendo DS game that focuses on the Holocaust called Imagination is the Only Escape. Here are two articles about the game, one … [Read more...]

Dispatches from AAR…Take 1

This year's American Academy of Religion conference offered much in the way of religion and popular culture with session topics ranging from video games to Comedy Central's The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. I'll provide some highlights from the sessions that I attended, starting with Born Digital and Born Again Digital: Religion in Virtual Gaming Worlds, sponsored by the Religion and Popular Culture Group and the Religion, Media, and Culture Group. … [Read more...]

Healthy Video Games?

With the overwhelming popularity of Nintendo's new console, the Wii, more people are playing video games. From swinging a golf club, hopefully like Tiger Woods, to bowling in full motion, the Wii encourages players to get off the couch. However, the Wii is not the first video game require more player interaction as the popular arcade game Dance Dance Revolution hit home consoles well before the Wii launch. Check out this article on how schools are putting it to use.P.E. Classes Turn to … [Read more...]